By: The Associated Press
This story originally published at The Associated Press.
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A nonprofit land conservation group has purchased more than 57 acres in western North Carolina to ensure that forest land that has never been harvested will remain intact.
Conserving Carolina has announced the purchase of an area known as Chestnut Hills, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported. The group, which made the purchase on March 2, plans to put the land into a conservation easement and manage it as a nature preserve. The move would sustain the biodiversity and scenery for hikers using Wildcat Rock.
The gorge is about 20 miles southeast of Asheville. It has been protected from industrial logging, the group said in a news release.
The land connects more than 1,000 acres that Conserving Carolina has already protected in the upper Hickory Nut Gorge, including the Wildcat Rock Trail, Bearwallow Mountain Trail and the Florence Nature Preserve, all part of its Hickory Nut Gorge State Trail seeking to connect the whole area with more than 100 miles of trail.